Over the past couple days a relatively substantial number of users have been complaining about Facebook’s upgraded suggestions feature for occasionally suggesting they reconnect with dead friends. It’s obviously an extremely touchy subject and something that many users have been flat out offended by. The company is now suggesting that anytime a user receives a suggestion to connect with someone who has passed away, that the user fills out the deceased form.
As Max Kelly writes on the Facebook blog:
We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it’s important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialized. For instance, just last week, we introduced new types of Suggestions that appear on the right-hand side of the home page and remind people to take actions with friends who need help on Facebook. By memorializing the account of someone who has passed away, people will no longer see that person appear in their Suggestions.
In theory it’s extremely difficult for Facebook to automatically know which users are deceased. While the company could develop an algorithm for scanning recent wall posts on a user’s account and automatically determining users who’ve passed, they’d prefer users submit that information. We’ve previously written about memorializing user accounts, however most users are unaware of Facebook’s form for reporting deceased users.
I wrote about this issue taking place when the suggested users had first launched. It’s an extremely touchy subject but the issue of receiving deceased friend recommendations is not a new one. It has just become more common place as the time passes.